Malaysia swears in new prime minister, country’s king picks replacement

Malaysia’s Muhyiddin Yassin, a Malay nationalist politician backed by the corruption-tarnished former ruling party, was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday after the king picked him to replace 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad.

The swearing-in capped a week of turmoil that began with Mahathir’s resignation in an apparent bid to consolidate power, but ended with him sidelined and complaining of betrayal after decades dominating Malaysian politics.

Mahathir promised to seek a vote in parliament to challenge Muhyiddin’s support, but conceded he might not win.

Muhyiddin, 72, was sworn in at a palace ceremony in front of Malaysia’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and promised to fulfil his duties as prime minister.

The change in leadership comes less than two years after Mahathir joined old rival Anwar Ibrahim, 72, to defeat the ruling party of six decades, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), on an anti-corruption platform.

“This is a very strange thing,” said Mahathir. “This is the losers that will form the government,” he added, referring to the outcome of the 2018 election.

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